Don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone

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The New York Times reports on a grassroots taxi redesign effort: A nonprofit group called the Design Trust for Public Space plans to ‘define the ideal taxi and taxi system of the future.’ At a workshop on May 24, designers, architects, city officials and representatives of taxi owners and drivers sketched out an array of ideas. Matthew W. Daus, the chairman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, has given cautious support to the effort. “This is a good exercise to get the perspectives of consumers and passengers, and also of architects and designers who are not involved in the day-to-day business of cabs.”

Yet the perspective of consumers and passengers is not included in the process! This seems like a fantastic opportunity to try to understand the needs of the users of the system from another point of view, rather than as users of the system who presumably arrive at these workshops already ready to solve the problems they’ve defined. Let’s take a step back and try to understand what isn’t working for someone else. Ethnographic study of the cab-riding experience, anyone?


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